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Community Health Centers

Medical-home(August 8, 2011)

It may have slipped your notice that this is National Health Center Week. A combination press conference and town hall meeting in Santa Rosa Monday morning seized the occasion to detail some of the changes being felt in Sonoma County as a result of the 2010 federal Health Care Reform legislation.

RedwoodCommunityHealthDr. Mary Maddux-Gonzales, CEO of the Redwood Community Health Coalition, sees local health centers as a key element in the remaking of America's health care system, but she's concerned that the promised funding to facilitate that transition may be rescinded due to political considerations that have little to do with medical concerns.

SchultzIt's been a little more than a year since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law, and Herb Schultz, the regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services, says its benefits are already becoming clear.

SantaRosaCommunityHealthCenters

Schultz adds that the "medical home" approach embodied at community health centers is an important part of the transition away from large institutional hospitals, which are more expensive to operate, toward a more personalized, preventative and affordable alternative.

 

 

 

"What If Cannabis Cured Cancer?"

med-mar(July 18, 2011)

The human body is born with an innate anti-cancer mechanism, a compound that mimics a widely available herb. But the plant's potential benefits have largely gone unexamined, because it happens to be illegal.

RichmondResearch finding cancer-fighting benefits from cannabis use is nothing new, says documentary filmmaker Len Richmond. But those few studies have been squelched and kept quiet.

cannabiscancerWhile serious researchers who want to investigate and attempt to quantify the possible medical benefits of cannabis are routinely stymied, Richmond notes that efforts to develop new synthetic imitations are starting to gain momentum.

Just as marijuana growers have assiduously crossbred plants to boost their psychoactive properties, Dr.Hergenrather says they are now being encouraged to develop new strains that emphasize the healing cannibinoids and scale back the THC.

HergenratherSome health officials who are skeptical of marijuana's medicinal benefits have suggested that smoking it is just as unhealthy as smoking tobacco. Dr. Jeff Hergenrather says two California studies that compared the consequences of both kinds of smoking offer strong evidence to debunk that claim.

What If Cannabis Cured Cancer? will be shown at 7 pm on Saturday, July 23 at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Dr. Hergenrather will be there to lead a discussion after the screening. You can see a trailer for the film below. Other aspects of medical marijuana research are explored in the upcoming PBS film, Clearing the Smoke; the Science of Cannabis, which will be shown on KRCB-TV on Aug.15.

Sonoma County in 10 Years

iton_sm(April 21, 2011)

There is no single path to a healthier Sonoma County, participants at a conference on health an poverty were reminded yesterday. But getting there will require getting off the systemic treadmills that aren't working now.

poverty-and-healthFor much of the past decade, Dr. Anthony Iton, now the vice president of Healthy Communities for the California Endowment, has been pointing out the high correlations between poor health, decreased life expectancy, and poverty. Now the challenge is addressing those root causes, which often concentrate low income households in neighborhoods with weak schools, scarce public transit, limited employment opportunities, and myriad other obstacles to success. This doesn't happen by accident, exactly; it's the result of policy decisions—typically made at a distance—that carry unintended but negative consequences for those neighborhoods. Because those areas tend to be home to people of color, Iton explains, this convergence of barriers has come to be characterized by the term, "structural racialization."

SoCo_Upstream_InvestmentsAmerica is not good for your health," Iton says." People come here and the longer they stay, the worse their health gets." But there are expectations, notably among Latinos, a disparity so conspicuous and mysterious it's been called the Immigrant Health Paradox.

CAP_logoOne factor, Iton adds, may be a higher level of social support within those immigrant communities.

 

Wood Smoke Health Hazards

smokehouse1top-a(April 20, 2011)

Humans have been burning wood for millennia, but new research indicates that breathing in the smoke from those fires can have negative health impacts that reach all the way down to your DNA.

woodpartA wood smoke particle taken from a human lung, seen enlarged 900x.Enviromental Health News reporter Cheryl Katz has written extensively on this issue. She also offers some tips for wood stove usage that will minimize the production of hazardous woodsmkoe particles.

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